Despite beginning his political career at the age of 19, Nick Kowalski is a true politician. He cares about the issues, he’s active in the public sphere, he meets with the press, wears suits, hands out campaign literature, holds voter registration drives, and makes promises about working toward a better tomorrow.
He also avoids answering any tough questions.
And he refuses to state his opinion on any relevant issues.
Yes, Nick Kowalski is a true politician.
I sat down with Nick about a week ago to discuss his campaign for Ingham County Commissioner to represent District 10. Admittedly, he is polite and professional, probably an extremely likable guy among his Tea Party compadres. I just don’t think he’s ready to hold office.
I asked Nick about a variety of different subjects. Unfortunately, the only issues he wanted to talk about had nothing to do with the issues that affect the County Commission.
I asked Nick about a bill passed in 2003 forbidding discrimination in employment and access to services on the basis of sexual orientation. Of course, he gave a reasonable answer:
Personally, I feel that individuals should not be discriminated against for really for any reason, especially at the government level. The government should not discriminate against anyone, that’s the bottom line,” Kowalski said. “I haven’t seen the resolution. Upon taking a close look at the resolution, I would come to an informed decision, but once again, discrimination on the basis of gender, or what have you, it just doesn’t seem right.”
Well, thanks Nick. I’m glad you at least chose to state your opinion on this issue. But what about the countless other issues which are brought before the County Commission on a regular basis?
I asked Nick about the Ingham County Health Plan, which provides health benefits to approximately 13,000 low-income, uninsured persons. Does he support the use of County general funds to provide this type of medical care to the working poor?
In response to my question, Kowalski rambled on about the Democratic supermajority and pledged to read 2,000 page health care bills. It wasn’t until I asked his opinion on the national health care system that I received any sort of intelligible response:
I think that individuals should have the right to purchase health care through private organizations, through private businesses, however they wish,” Kowalski said. “I also believe that private insurers should be able to sell, provide their services across state lines. So, you know, opening up which then will drive down costs in the end. It allows for more competition.”
OK, cool. So you’re a Republican; I get it.
But what do you really stand for?
Apparently, Nick Kowalski stands for the same issues as Rick Snyder. Or at least that’s the way he’s marketing himself.
I believe that my beliefs fall under the scope of Rick Snyder’s,” Kowalski said. “And if the students are going to go to the polls and vote for Rick Snyder, they should also consider voting for myself for county commissioner, right here in East Lansing.”
Despite all of his strategically polished tactics to avoid talking about the issues, one thing Nick isn’t afraid of talking about is how old and out of touch the incumbent Democrat Mark Grebner is with the student population at Michigan State.
When I asked so many students: ‘Do you know who represents your voice at the county level?’ And they have no idea,” Kowalski said. “When I tell them, you know, it’s a guy who’s been around for much longer than they themselves have been alive, the incumbent Democrat, he’s old enough to be the grandfather of every student at Michigan State University. So, it comes as a shock.”
I asked Nick if he had anything he would like to ask Mark Grebner, given the chance:
I would ask You-Know-Who, if he felt that he was an honest representative of the 21st century student. If he honestly feels that his actions, his views represent the student populace today. And, you know, it may have been the case in 1976, but you know what, it’s 2010. It’s time for change.”
Did anyone else catch that? That’s right, he said You-Know-Who.
Kowalski seems unwilling to mention his opponent’s name. Even his campaign literature refers to Grebner as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Those of you who are desperately awaiting the November 19 premiere of the final movie in the Harry Potter series should understand this reference instantly. Nick Kowalski is comparing his opponent to a fictional character, an extremely fearsome fictional character from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Forgive me if I don’t quite understand the connection.
When I asked Nick why he chose to refer to Grebner this way, he gave me an interesting answer:
I refer to him that way because he has a tendency to sue people he doesn’t like,” Kowalski said.
But don’t you think it’s a bit odd to refer to your opponent this way?
I don’t think it’s odd, and I don’t think my constituents will think it’s odd either,” Kowalski said.
Well, sorry. I think it’s odd.
When I asked Mark Grebner what he thought about the situation, he told me:
If he wants to compare me with Voldemort, that’s OK.”
Grebner also went on to explain Kowalski’s accusation that Grebner sues people he doesn’t like.
Apparently during the 2008 election, there was an issue where someone posted false accusations about Grebner on Wikipedia. Grebner discovered the poster was a friend of his opponent, Brad Dennis, and pressed charges for libel.
He put into Wikipedia a little bullet point that I had been convicted for two counts of child molestation,” Grebner said. “The stuff I’ve gotten angry about was well out of the range with what would be considered appropriate debate. After a while you develop a thick skin, but the [accusation of] child molestation just deserved special treatment.”
Sure. I think that’s reasonable.
It seems to me as if Nick Kowalski, who always accuses his opponent of being out of touch, might himself be more out of touch with his fellow MSU students than he realizes.
I feel the need to allow the student body to have an opportunity to elect one of their own, a student to represent the student’s voice at the county level,” Kowalski said.
Well, Nick, I’m a student, and you didn’t convince me.
Just because you claim to be “conservative first, Republican second,” doesn’t mean you can avoid answering every tough question which comes your way. Voters are looking for more than just a label. They want to know what you think and more importantly, what you will do.
So, thanks, Nick, I appreciate the offer, but give me a break.